Core Values, Why They Are Important To Your Business

What Are Core Values?

Core values are a set of standards for your business that everyone involved in your business must use in order to deliver the best possible product or service.

Core values force you to raise the bar and set the standard, the tone, and the cadence of your business.  Make sure you are doing what you can to set the right standards for your business to get the outcome you are looking for.

This video will help you establish core values for your business.

What is a personal brand?  

A personal brand is a feeling, an emotion and an expectation about who you are as a person and and a professional.  Your personal brand tells people what your character is and what they can expect to experience when working with you.  

How Do You Build A Strong Personal Brand?

Our 3-Step process will help you identify what your personal brand looks like.  Once you identify what your personal brand is, it will be your job to nurture, grow and tweak it along the way.

STEP 1:  WHO YOU ARE

Identify 3-6 core values that describe you.  Core values are those things that drive you and make you who your are.  They can be anything from trustworthy, respectful, innovative, leader, etc.

  1. _____________________________________
  2. _____________________________________
  3. _____________________________________
  4. _____________________________________
  5. _____________________________________
  6. _____________________________________

Power Tip:  

Need help?  Use Google to do some research!  Type “List of core values” into the Google search engine and see what comes up.  Select core values that really describe who you are and how you want people to perceive you.

STEP 2:  WHAT YOU DO

Write out a descriptive statement of what problem you are able to provide a solution to.  

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The point of this descriptive is to illustrate how you think and want people to perceive you.

STEP 3:  THE VALUE YOU PROVIDE

Strong personal brands deliver value ALL THE TIME!  With everything they do, there is always a piece of value available.  Two value-focused brands that quickly come to mind are:

Facebook:  Provides people the opportunity to connect with friends, family, and businesses everyday!

Google:  Delivers information instantaneously!  It costs you nothing to do research from the comfort of your own home!

Make a list of all of the pieces of value you offer to your target market:

    • _______________________________________________________________
    • _______________________________________________________________
    • _______________________________________________________________
    • _______________________________________________________________
    • _______________________________________________________________
    • _______________________________________________________________
    • _______________________________________________________________
    • _______________________________________________________________
    • _______________________________________________________________
    • _______________________________________________________________

 

 

Putting it ALL Together

Now that you have a clear picture of:

  • What makes you who you are
  • The solution you provide
  • The value that you offer…

You begin to see what your brand looks like.  From here, you can go anywhere!  With every piece of marketing you do, the product you deliver or conversation you have, you can design it all to reflect how you want people to perceive you, your business, and the product or service you deliver.

Take It One Step Further…

Put your brand to the test.  Work with a trusted colleague, mentor, or friend, someone who will give feedback, and tell you what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear.  Ask them how they honestly see your brand and the product you deliver.  If they are unable to identify the problem you solve, how valuable your product or service is or if they are unable to identify any of the 6 core values you listed above to describe you and your business, you have some work to do.  You must either change one or all of the steps above or you must change yourself.  

Personal branding is a marathon, not a sprint, and, it is definitely a journey.  You will need to constantly work at it and improve it each and every day.

Many times people use the terms personal brand and personal image interchangeably but, they shouldn’t.  There is a BIG difference between the two!  Once you understand the difference between them, it will make a difference in your business.

Let’s dive in…

Personal Image:  

Everyone has one!  It what helps people form a mental picture of you.  Here are some characteristics of a Personal Image:

  • Sense of humor
  • How you talk, the language you use, the accent you have
  • Sense of style
  • Favorite color
  • Your overall preferences of what you like and what you do not like

Personal Brand:  

A personal brand is how people perceive you and it sets the expectation of how you will conduct business with another professional.  Your personal brand:

  • Sets you apart from others in your industry
  • Broadcasts your skill set
  • Describes your work ethic is
  • Provides insight into your character and values
  • Illustrates the expected level value you provide

Think of your personal brand as your professional reputation on steroids.  Your personal brand is the emotion, thought and an idea that is conjured up each and every time your name and business name are mentioned in your target market.   What do you want that thought or idea to be for you and your business?

Now that you know how important your personal brand is, you must protect it at all costs by delivering a consistent message each and every time you interact with your target market whether it be on social media, through a marketing program, during a meeting, consultation or a deliverable product.

Picking your brand colors

Do colors really mean anything for your brand? I mean it’s just colors, right?

WRONG! There is a whole lot of research done behind the meaning of colors!

When you think of your ‘Brand Identity’ what does that mean to you?

Personality is the emotional, and human, association to a brand. Identity is the image created and used by a company to relate to consumers. An identity can include all forms of communication and visuals such as logos, colors or fonts. But the two are symbiotic. A brand’s identity should be part of its personality.

This is one of our favorite color meaning charts: Attribution http://blog.visme.co/color-psychology-in-marketing-and-brand-identity-part-2/  

When you talk about creating a brand it all starts with the colors, fonts,  and styles.

Here are a few steps to get you started

  1. Mood Board Inspiration
    *Types of things that inspire you: Colors, Styles, Textures, Images, Fonts. Pinterest is a great free resource to look at types of brands you like.
  2. Color Palette & Fonts
    What color makes you happy? What’s your favorite color?
    – Which colors and fonts are you naturally drawn towards?
    – Are there certain colors that can represent your design niche the best?– Which colors would you prefer to avoid?
    -Are there certain colors that can represent your design niche the best?
    -What do I want the identity of your business to say to my clients?
  3. Primary Logo
    Primary Logo is: Do you have one? Do you have a stacked logo for social media?
  4. Social Media & Marketing Graphics
    What social media platforms do you have, that you need to make sure your graphics are correct?
  5. Website & Consistency – Keep your brand’s tone and personality consistent across channels

Is your brand identity unique?
Does it have passion behind it?
Is it consistent?

What are brand colors

WRONG! There’s a whole lot of research done behind the meaning of colors!

When you think of your ‘Brand Identity’ what does that mean to you?

Personality is the emotional, and human, association to a brand. Identity is the image created and used by a company to relate to consumers. An identity can include all forms of communication and visuals such as logos, colors or fonts. But the two are symbiotic. A brand’s identity should be part of its personality.

This is one of our favorite color meaning charts: Attribution http://blog.visme.co/color-psychology-in-marketing-and-brand-identity-part-2/  

When you talk about creating a brand it all starts with the colors, fonts,  and styles.

Here are a few steps to get you started:

  1. Mood Board Inspiration
    What’s a mood board?

It’s a collection of different items that can help you get a feel of what your brand is all about. It can contain images, textures, patterns, typefaces, and other design elements. You may even put together a mood board with logos, website, images that you like the feel of to maybe replicate.

How to make an effective mood board:

Don’t set limits.

The moment you start making a mood board, understand that this is not a place for you to hold back. Put as many elements into it as possible. Remember that it’s always easier for you to take out elements that do not work out in the end. But if you hold back, you might miss out on things that you could have added, but thought twice about

Be detailed and specific.

Sometimes, you would add an image that struck you because of a specific element. A screenshot of a webpage perhaps, or a poster you found online. You may like the font used, or the color scheme applied. In these cases, make sure you add notes that specify what you liked about the image. This way, you can remember which element you should be zooming in on when you encounter the image in your board.

2. Color Palette & Fonts

Your brand identity is not just a logo of your business, but a reflection of your personality. When it comes to creating your brand, color plays a vital role in the process. People choose brands, make buying decisions, change their actions, choose what stores to go into, all because of COLOR, and they may not know they even do it!  

Think of a stop light, you always know Red means stop, Green means Go and Yellow means caution or slow down, right? This changes the way we think about colors and what they mean to us as individuals. At the end of the day, Color is EVERYTHING! These colors will be in your logo, website, social media, print materials, publications, promotional items and so much more, it’s important you take your time and really think about this.

What color makes you happy? What’s your favorite color?
– Which colors and fonts are you naturally drawn towards?
– Are there certain colors that can represent your design niche the best?– Which colors would you prefer to avoid?

-Are there certain colors that can represent your design niche the best?

-What do I want the identity of your business to say to my clients?

3. Logos

Primary Logo—Size and Scaling The logos are all saved to paths—which means they are rendered as vector art and can be continuously scaled. When changing the size it is important to do this proportionally and not stretch the art or change the original proportions. The logo shall not be used below the minimum size shown below
Primary Logo—Color Usage The primary logo may be used in four different color combinations as shown below. The logo should never be used in any other color combinations other than those specified below.
Secondary Logo The secondary logo was created for situations where Highline is more of an endorsement or equal party. It can be used in situations where there is limited space or where the full name is not necessary. It may also be interchanged with the main logo if the name Highline Community College is stated elsewhere.
Secondary Logo—Size and Scaling Like the primary logo, the secondary logo is saved to paths—which means they are rendered as vector art and can be continuously scaled. When changing the size it is important to do this proportionally and not stretch the art or change the original proportions. 

Do you have one? Do you have a stacked logo for social media?

4. Social Media & Marketing Graphics

When you are creating all these graphics, it’s so important to make sure you have the right size for each social media platform, cheat sheet here http://www.visualistan.com/2016/12/the-2017-social-media-image-sizes-cheat.html


What social media platforms do you have, that you need to make sure your graphics are correct?

5. Website & Consistency –

When communicating as the brand offline or via your website, social media profiles, or other online channels, it’s important to keep a consistent tone and personality. If your brand is fun and friendly on Twitter, it should have a similar flavor on Facebook and LinkedIn. Your messaging on LinkedIn may be less casual or more professional, but it shouldn’t sound like it’s coming from a different brand altogether. Think about it this way: there is the “at work” you and the “at home or with friends” you. Your personality is the same, but your mannerisms adjust to the context. The same goes for your brand personality and selected communication channels.

Is your brand identity unique?
Does it have passion behind it?
Is it consistent?

how to explain what you do as a freelancer

Picture this, you walk into a room of other business owners who immediately turn to you and ask, “So, what do you do?” As a freelancer, do you know how to respond? Do you always say the same answer or do you try and switch it up depending upon with whom you are speaking?

More often then not, business owners and freelancers who aren’t purposeful about how they approach the answer to “what do you do” try and encompass every aspect of their expertise within one answer. They are so interested in making sure the listener sees the breadth of their experience and offerings that the messaging becomes convoluted and lost.

I did this for months as I kicked off my marketing agency and it wasn’t until I attended a workshop on networking skills that I realized my short comings. In fact, it was so bad that I even switched my service offerings from PPC management to social media management for small businesses because I confused other networkers so much that all they got out of our conversations was marketing businesses online > social media is a type of digital marketing > Oh, she must manage social media accounts. Recognizing that this appeared to be low hanging fruit, I shifted to social media and blogging, but that’s another story for another day.

So, to give yourself the best possible chance of actually providing the freelance services you set out to, there are a few techniques that can completely transform your messaging and ability to concisely explain what you do to your tribe. In this blog post, I will be providing the actual steps you can take to answer the question “What do you do?” as a freelancer.

What do you do?

Tip 1: Think about the following questions

what do you do for business freelancer

What makes you unique?

Is there anything that sets you apart from your competitors? This can include your skills, your experience, or even your personality and values. Especially as I was growing my business, I found so many clients who had been screwed over by other freelancers. They were hesitant to even have a conversation about their marketing needs because of previous experiences. To overcome this objection, I used my values and the fact that every new account that I managed was set up in the client’s name rather than linked to my personal/business accounts, so my client retained complete ownership of their marketing and business materials. This unique proposition isn’t as unique now, but it absolutely helped prospects feel at ease when we talked specifics about projects.

What is your ideal project?

Here, I mean to think about short vs long-term projects. It is alright to have a combination of the two, but very clear about what services constitute as a short term vs long term project.

Example 1: Web designer. A front-end designer may really emphasize their  website build-outs, which are short term projects. For more robust offerings and to provide more passive income, the same web designer could also offer maintenance plans through the web hosting company.

Example 2: Copy writer: In copy writing there are always both short and long term projects. Creating blogging packages, for example, can create monthly recurring revenue for your business, but a full website rewrite or manual creation could command a higher hourly or per word rate, though it is a short term project. You may prefer to get in and get out, but be available for future short term writing needs for your clients, or you may find you excel more at really getting to know your clients through writing multiple blogs and newsletters for them each month.

Who is your ideal client?

Have you ever heard yourself say that you work with anyone and everyone? Do you really want to? When you think about your ideal client, it can be broken down in terms of business size (large corporations, small startups, or family owned businesses). One tactic I’ve found to work well is if you think of what specific service applies to which ideal client. So when you are talking to a soloprenuer, for example, you are only focusing on the one or two freelance services that really speak to their needs and budget.

What is your ideal target audience?

In addition to considering the size of the business, it is also important to consider the types of industries you want to focus on. Are you passionate about health and wellness, SaaS providers, consultants, etc? When you focus on one niche, you can start to optimize your efforts more effectively. You may find some processes work well for one industry in particular, which aides in building your expertise and loops back around to allowing you to articulate what makes you unique.

Tip 2: Use the Who, What, Why, How framework

Once you have taken the time to work through what makes you different and which services are most appropriate for your niche target markets, you can start constructing your answer to the question “what do you do?”

The Use the Who, What, Why, How framework is broken down into:

WHO you are: By answering Who you are, you are providing your job title. Many answers to the question of what you do fizzle down after this is answered, but I urge you to keep going.

WHAT you do: This is where you can add context to your job title. What does it actually mean?

WHY you do it: Have you ever told someone why you are freelancer? It is okay to incorporate this into your answer for what do you do. You can focus on flexibility, challenges, making personal relationships with your clients, really whatever your story is for why you are on this path. You’ll find that your story can open the doors to more in depth conversations.

HOW you do it differently: This is where you can explain your unique value proposition. How do you run your business different than the next guy or gal? Are there any case studies you can highlight?

Bringing the Who, What, Why, How framework together.

Now that you have your who, what, why, and hows thought through, try explaining what you do. For me, this comes down to:

I own a digital marketing agency that focuses on social media management for soloprenuers and small businesses. We help our clients create consistent content so they can better connect with their target audience online while freeing up their time to focus on their business.

Business stresses

Tip 3: Have different answers ready for various situations

It’s all good and well that you have your answer outlined to what do you do as a freelancer, but what if you are spending time talking to very different tips of people. The questions below are prompts to get you started down the path of accurately positioning yourself as a freelancer.

What are three pain points you can help to resolve?

Having a list of three pain points allows you to mention just one for  each niche market or type of project. Through highlighting a pain you can draw people in, and then you can explain your solution to the issue. Rather than focusing on the ‘features’ of your services, try to emphasize how working with you made your clients feel.

What example project can you discuss that truly made a difference for a client?

This example project that made a difference can make a mini case study that you can use to highlight what you do, how you are different, and why someone should hire you. Telling stories is a way to help your prospects understand what it would be like to work with you.

Have you ever…?

Ask a question back to the individual as a way to describe what you do. An example could be, “have you ever started to write a enewsletter only to get frustrated with the program you were using? I help my clients optimize their ability to communicate directly with their tribe through Mailchimp email campaigns.

Do you have a special offer or promotion such as a free consultation?

Free consultations are one way to get people in the door. An example of how you could use this is: I work with small businesses to make sure they can be found on Google. If you would like, I offer a 30 minute free consultation where we can actually walk through your website and see if there are any areas for improvement to make sure you can be found online.

It can be daunting to answer the question of what do you do, especially as you are just getting started, but being able to do this can transform your messaging and ability to open the doors to new introductions and conversations. As you create your elevator pitch, recognize that you don’t need one pitch or commercial for every situation.

Each conversation can fully depend on the individual with whom you are discussing your business. If you sense yourself trying to explain every detail of what you do, take a step back. Did the other person’s eyes just glaze over?

Take a deep breath.

You’ll have another chance to explain what you do in the next conversation!

What should every entrepreneur have in their business-

We are so excited to have had Russ Barnes on our radio show August 12th, 2017. He is such a remarkable person! Here are just a few topics we covered:

1) Customer, customer, customer – without the customer you are out of business.  Listening to the customer will help you improve your product or service.
2) Message, message, message – in order for customers to find you, they must believe that you can solve their problem in such a way that they are willing to pay for the solution.
3) Value, value, value – the more value you can deliver, the less resistance you will experience when acquiring customers.
4) Target market – be a big fish in a small pond. The idea that EVERYONE can use your product or service positions you as a tiny fish in a huge ocean.  When you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.
5) Decision making – successful business is certainly what you do, but it is more effectively achieved by how you think about what you do. Resource management is critical.
6) Progression – understand what it takes to get from where you are to where you want to be.  This is your growth strategy.
7) Advisors – build your team of advisors carefully.  No one develops a successful business alone. Cooperate and collaborate, but compensate. No one wants to work for free.
8) Earn money to hire experts. Focus on what you do to make money and then pay experts to do what they do best to help you maximize your time and rapidly achieve outcomes.  Know the calculation that will tell you whether you can hire an expert and when you can hire the expert.
9) Don’t get complacent. Never stop learning.  Perhaps we can talk about books, magazines, webinars, libraries, incubators, or other educational resources that business owners can access for little to no money.
10) Love, love, love what you do or find a way to transition into something that you do love.

Here is a little bit more about who Russ Barnes is:

Russ Barnes, USAF Colonel (retired), MBA, MS

Colonel Russ Barnes is the CEO and Senior Business Advisor to Entrepreneurs and Executives at Systro Consulting, an organization design firm specializing in small business development.  He has more than 30 years of experience in organization development drawn from military service, franchise ownership, academic programs, and strategy consulting, specifically with small businesses.

As an aviator, Russ flew combat missions during Desert Storm and later held senior leadership positions in several higher headquarters staff organizations which include Air Combat Command Headquarters, the Pentagon, Strategic Command Headquarters, European Command Headquarters, and Central Command Headquarters.   He has received the Legion of Merit, Air Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and more than 20 other peacetime and wartime decorations.

After retirement from the military, Russ grew his franchise territory from zero to profitability in less than three years.  His growth was based on a clear vision, building an effective network, consistently delivering a quality product and maintaining a relentless focus on customer service.

Russ is a graduate of the Referral Institute Certified Networker program where he received extensive training in referral marketing. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Manhattan College (NY), his MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and his Master of Science degree in Strategic Studies from Air University.  He is currently pursuing a PhD in Organization Development at Benedictine University.

Contact Info:
Email:
Russ@systro.org
Website: www.systro.org
Social media: www.linkedin.com/in/rcbarnes
Phone number: 813 520-5770

3 Social Media Trends To Pay Attention To

Here are the 3 social media trends we covered on our radio show this past Saturday. Each week we will bring you new social media trends to help grow your business and your social media strategy!

Brand Loyalty:

Celebrate your fans and followers and build loyal brand followers on Facebook.  Post special % off discounts only available on Facebook. Also use Facebook ads to help grow your brand awareness and brand loyalty. Grow your following and your brand by offering unique content on a regular basis. Stand out and be leader in your niche.

Online Reviews What to do??

Check online reviews constantly and respond to the good and the bad. A bad review is the opportunity to start a conversation and turn it into a positive. When responding to a bad review, handle it off line and in a private forum. Where to check your reviews?? Google, Facebook, Yelp

Building your followers organically or paid??

There are a couple of reasons why this is not a good idea.

  1. Low engagement. Purchased likes and followers are not your ideal customer. You will never be able to engage with them or have a successful purchase history with them.
  2. Think about your brand reputation before even considering buying likes or followers. It looks spammy and suspicious when you jump from a few likes to thousands in a short time.
  3. Algorithms. Social media channel algorithms are smart. If they record a suspicious jump in likes and followers, your organic reach may be compromised.

In today’s saturated marketplace, getting ahead in the business world is tougher than ever. They need to amp up their marketing efforts in order to thrive and succeed. If you’ve tried different strategies, but you still haven’t achieved your desired results, don’t fret. We’re here to help you out.

Use these simple and inexpensive tips to attract customers to your small business. Try any of the methods listed below to see which one works best for you.

Identify your target audience

The first and most important step is to identify who your target audience is. Have a crystal clear picture of who exactly you are targeting. You wouldn’t know where to start looking if you don’t know the type of customers you seek.

You may have great products and a marketing campaign in place, but this won’t help you reach your bottomline without a composite of your ideal customer.

Online advertising is the way to go

Living in the digital world, most people spend most of their time online. They would log in to their social media accounts to get in touch with their family and friends. Some even rely on the internet to know what is happening around them. So if you are looking to capture the attention of your target audience, online advertising is the way to go.

Get listed on popular local directories, be active on social media, post blogs regularly and update your website from time to time. With all these strategies combined, you are guaranteed to build a strong online presence and attract a lot of potential customers to your business.

Start a contest

Everybody loves free stuff. This is why contests are always a big hit. It’s not just the idea of receiving free items that encourage people to join contest, but the thrill of beating others and winning.

Let’s say you’re in the wedding business and you sell wedding rings. Couples who are planning to get married will be very much interested in joining. But first, they need to share their love story in order to enter the contest. The couples that get the most number of likes wins. Contestants will need to share this with their family and friends in order to get as much likes.

Yes, you’ll be losing money since you’ll be giving away a pair of wedding rings, but imagine the kind of buzz this could create for your business.

Offer deals and discounts

Everybody is looking for a way to save money. People see deals and discounts as a great way to save money. This is one of the best ways to capture the attention of your target audience.

Since deals and discounts are offered for a limited time only, people are tempted to buy something even if they didn’t plan to. After all, it’s cheap, and the items would revert back to their original prices after a few days, so why not buy now?

Now before you jump into these methods to attract your tribe, make sure you also know where your audience is online!

Which Social Media Channels Fit Your Target Audience

You may have amazing products and provide great services. You also spend time creating good quality content. No matter how engaging or persuasive your content is, you won’t be able to achieve great results unless it reaches your target audience.

Most business use social media to engage with their fans and followers and even build a relationship with them. Considering there are several social media channels out there, do you ever wonder if you’re reaching the right audience?

Which social media channels fit your target audience? Keep reading to find out.

Twitter

Twitter makes use of hashtags that allows businesses to target people who are talking about and engaging with topics related to their business. This social media platform is ideal for sharing real time information, timely trends or live events, and will result in high levels share and engagement.

Use this social networking platform if your target audience is young adults. 24% of internet users log in on their Twitter account on a daily basis. Younger, more educated crowds aged 18 to 29 uses Twitter. 29% of college grads use Twitter and lots of it.

Facebook

Facebook is the biggest socal networking channel, with over 1.86 billion monthly users. Yes, Facebook is crowded, but it gives you the ability to narrow down that 1.86 billion users by gender, age, location, interests, marital status, employment, and income; thus, making it easier for you to reach the right audience.

Majority of the entire adult population is on Facebook. In fact, 88% of milennials and 62% of adults aged 65 and up use Facebook. As such, this would be a great place to start with your social media campaign.

Instagram

Instagram is geared towards younger millennial users. A hefty 38% of female internet users use Instagram. To make the most out of your social media campaign, make sure that you provide attention grabbing photos and high quality videos to your audience. Remember, content is king on Instagram.

LinkedIn

People tend to use LinkedIn for interacting with clients, influencers and other professionals. This is a great option for business whose products or services are highly specific to professionals. It is also ideal for B2B marketers.

Just like Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to target users based on gender, location and age. In addition, it also allows you to filter based on field of study, company industry, company size, degrees, job title etc.

Attract customers | Small business marketing | 4 marketing tactics for small business | How to find target market | Facebook marketing for business | Social media marketing for small business | social media marketing tips

 

Working with businesses owners we see a lot of mistakes and successes. Especially for the new business or freelancer, the mistakes below can completely destroy your business before it has the chance to succeed.

Mistake #1: Striving for Perfection

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

– Salvador Dali

As a type A perfectionist, I struggled with this. It also is the number one thing I see people starting a business struggle with, as well. Your business is your baby and you are pouring your heart and sole into making it a success, but being too wrapped up in the little things can keep your from actually going out and finding clients. If you find yourself:

  • Stressing over your logo
  • Tweaking every aspect of your website
  • Rereading your introduction email over and over to make it just right (but still not hitting send)
  • Working on perfecting your elevator speech before you attend your first networking group

then you may be focusing too much on being a perfectionist. Trust me, though thoughtful branding can help you land more clients, if you are receiving personal referrals, it isn’t going to stop you from getting paying clients. People choose who they are going to work with based on your personal connection not because of what your logo looks like. Then there is your website… Perfection for every site is a moving target. Your products and services will change. You will notice contacts respond more to one aspect of your business rather than another. As for the next two points, you are procrastinating! It is okay to want to define your messaging, but just getting out there and putting yourself out to prospects is far more important. Sure you want to make sure your messaging is just right when you reach out to that dream prospect or mentor, but these shouldn’t be your first contact. The best part about putting yourself out there before you think you are ready is that you get to understand what the market actually wants and needs! When I first started Boundless Marketing, I had my dream service offerings in mind. Turned out that nobody even understood what I was talking about! There wasn’t a market. I drastically shifted my messaging and began signing contracts almost immediately.

Mistake #2: Thinking you can get clients just by posting things online.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work. Marinate on that for a minute.”

– Robert T. Kiyosaki

The internet and social media has shifted many of our mindsets about how you can get clients. Even through online channels you need to create a personal relationship with your network. Just posting your blog posts online isn’t going to cut it. I recently signed up for a program to Gain 100 Followers in 3 Days, just to see how other professionals where growing and starting their email lists. Guess what, these influential bloggers and business owners all start int the same place – asking friends, colleagues, clients, and prospects individually if they wanted to join their email list! If you find yourself:

  • Wondering why your networks haven’t converted into paying clients
  • Haven’t asked your mom, sibling, aunt, and grandparent if they want to join your list
  • Are frustrated seeing all these other people succeed

Then you may just be making this mistake. Start going to networking groups and collecting business cards. Take the email address you collect and shoot out a quick note following the template below :

“Hi NAME, I recently met you at EVENT NAME and loved learning about your business. I am in the process of starting an email list focusing on 3 TOPICS YOU WILL BE WRITING ABOUT, and was wondering if you would be interested in receiving the emails. My goal with list is to LIST BENEFITS. Are you interested in learning more?”

Not everyone will say they are interested, but the ones who do will help you grow your contacts quickly! We work with a lot of businesses who see varying amount of success through their social media marketing. The ones who see a return quickly are the clients who are complementing our marketing management services with their own outreach and networking. To see the best results from your marketing, you need to treat social media as you do in person networking. Create personal relationships and treat handles and usernames as individual people not just another account.

Mistake #3: Not Understanding Your Own Values

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”

– Roy E. Disney

Okay, so this one does tie into the branding of your business, but it really is getting out being your authentic self. Knowing your values helps you to better manage your time, set priorities, and work with clients you enjoy. If you find yourself:

  • Wishing there were more hours in the day
  • Being drained after meetings with prospects
  • Continually wishing you had done X, Y, or Z

Then you may be making this mistake. One of my first clients taught me this lesson the hard way. My values are Relationships (family), Creativity, Challenges, Health, Experiences, and Knowledge. Shortly after I began my business full time, I traveled to my brother’s wedding. I was ecstatic to see him tie the knot and spend time with my family. Unfortunately, a new client nearly ruined my weekend. As a people pleaser, I started bending over backwards for the client and found myself anxiously checking email during the rehearsal dinner. I wasn’t being present. Finally, I recognized I would resent my actions if I didn’t shut off all devices to be there for my family. Sure there was a nasty email from my client, but we worked through our differences once the owner understood my boundaries. If you find yourself stressed about client conversations, I urge you to lay out boundaries, guidelines, and a list of responsibilities. You may loose some clients, but they are the people who take up 80% of your time. Think of all the other things you could do to grow your business if you had 80% of your time back!

What mistakes have you made in your own business that kept you from success?

3 Mistakes that can Ruin Your Business and What to do About Them. Working with businesses owners we see a lot of mistakes and successes. Especially for the new business or freelancer, the mistakes below can completely destroy your business before it has the chance to succeed.